Gransnet forums


The Golden Child

(49 Posts)
biglouis Tue 08-Mar-22 08:41:42

I was born but not concieved within wedlock. This was back in the 1940s when a single man who "got a woman pregnant" felt that he "had" to marry her if he was free.

I did not discover this until my late teens when I compared my birth certificate (needed for passport) with my parents' marriage certificate. That explained to me why my sister had always been the golden princess. My birth was not planned, and had led to my father have to give up his merry batchelor existence to settle down with a family. By contrast, my sisters' birth was planned.

These were the days when the man was the breadwinner and as an unskilled worker there was little money in our home. Often my parents argued about money. Or rather, about the lack of it. My mother frequently wept that she had only xx shillings left in her purse. She made no attempt to keep our poverty from us as a modern parent would.

As a child I was sent to school with cardboard in the soles of my shoes, until my grandmother bought me a new pair. My school skirts were army surplus from a rag market in the city. Again, my grandmother was forced to intervene and buy me a new school uniform so I would not be laughed at..

When I began work at 16 I spend the first week wearing my school skirt and blouse because I had nothing else. We were paid weekly. A friendly colleague suggested I tell my parents that I had to work a week "in hand" and would not be paid for two weeks. That would give me some money to buy clothes suirable for the office. I kept new things in my mocker and changed when I arrived in work, because my nosy mother checked my wardrobe. She also checked my drawers to see if I was hiding any spare money.

Every pound I tipped up for my "keep" somehow ended up on my sisters back. No rag market skirts or cardboard in the soles for her. She began secondary school with a new set of uniform and white ankle socks with frilly tops.

How I hated those ankle socks!

One day when everyone was out I put the lot in with a bucket with red items. They came out pale pink. I made sure that I did not return until after the issue had been discivered. My mother took the blame for not sorting the washing badly.

What tales do you have? Were you ever the golden child or the black sheep? How did it affect you?

Urmstongran Tue 08-Mar-22 08:50:10

My younger sister and I had a pretty wonderful childhood. We were much loved. Mum had a truly awful childhood - her own mother died when she was only 9y and then, father working abroad, was at home with her siblings with a truly wicked stepmother - her tales told when we were adults made me upset and shocked me to the core. Mum said it made her determined that her own children would know happiness growing up. She treated us equally. We were fortunate indeed.

Shelflife Tue 08-Mar-22 08:59:23

This is a sad story biglouis and I recognize your anger and distress! There us no excuse for what happened and it is hard to fathom why parents would behave so badly. It was certainly not your fault or your sisters, but I completely understand your retaliation regarding the pink laundry!!! Clearly the injustice runs deep - I get that . I do hope you are able to live your live now in peace and happiness, be happy 😊. Good luck!

Shinamae Tue 08-Mar-22 09:05:33

I was at my parents wedding albeit in my mothers tummy!In my teenage years I thought I wasn’t really wanted but dad assured me that mum had offered to just go away back to Wales but he wanted to marry her. He even told me where I was conceived!. They did go on to have my brother 14 months later but unfortunately he died in 2003 with cancer, he was 49. Anyway my parents split up when I was 15 and mum went to live in the city about 40 miles away and remarried but dad never did. We did have an idyllic childhood living right on the coast in a small village. There was no golden child we were both treated equally

glammanana Tue 08-Mar-22 09:07:35

I had a lovely childhood,I was the eldest of 4 three girls and one boy.
My mother had my sister when I was 4 so I was the apple of their eye's to both sets of GPs,they baby sat me most days as my mum carried on working which was not normal in those days but they where saving for their first house , mum gave up work when my next sister was born 3 yrs later.
Holidays where spent in Wales in my uncles caravan we truly had a wonderful childhood.

Grandma70s Tue 08-Mar-22 09:26:08

My parents were scrupulously fair towards my elder brother and me, but nevertheless I knew I was “the golden child”. When my father was in his eighties he admitted this. He said I was “perfect”. “You were clever, you were beautiful, we could take you anywhere”. I think he may have been biased! In contrast my brother was awkward and socially inept. He was also furiously jealous of me. When I was a baby he stuffed soil into my mouth. When I was twelve he tore up all the ballet photos in my bedroom. They were cut out of magazines and newspapers so were flimsy and easy to tear.

This all evened out in later life. My brother left school at 16 - a shocking thing in my parents’ eyes, but he was miserable at school. However, he went to evening classes and surprised everyone by getting a string of A grades and eventually a first class degree. He became a distinguished professor. This time, I was the jealous one! I slaved to equal his degree results, which I did, but after that I was unambitious and only interested in marrying and having children. I did have a short academic career, but spent most of my life at home with my family. That was what I wanted. His obituary will be published in newspapers. I am completely (and happily) obscure.

biglouis Tue 08-Mar-22 09:27:07

My sister was very pretty and one day when we were on the bus with my mother another passenger said "What a pity ones plain and one pretty".

I was 12 and went crying to my grandmother that it was "not fair" that I was plain. She quickly pointed out that plain meant ordinary, not ugly. Then she reminded me that it was now possible for a plain girl to make the best of herself with the right hair style, cosmetics and so on. When grandma was a girl cosmetics were not considered respectable for a girl of good background. So she had been a "plain" girl.

Finally she pointed out that some of the great Hollywood actresses were actually quite plain - or even ugly - without their props and makeup. For example Barbara Stanwyk and Bette Davis were not conventionally beautiful. However they had their talent as great actresses to make people believe they were beautiful.

My grandmother was a very wise woman. She was not a touchy feely person. But she did listen and had a lot of sound good sense.

Franbern Tue 08-Mar-22 09:43:39

My brother was born 12 months after my parents wedding. Back in the late 1920's little way of preventing this. My Mother became a doting Mum, and my Dad, still only in his early twenties really resented how much time she spent on the baby, His own father had died during the Spanish flu outbreak when my Dad was just entering his teens, so he had no idea how a good father would act. I have heard, from aunts that he was over strict with my brother, and this caused a life time of resentment between them.

I was born, planned, nearly twelve years later. My Dad (in his eyes) was the first man in the world to have fathered a daughter. He did dote on me, but was also very strict. My Mum was always my 'go-to' parent.

As the bad relationship between my Dad and brother worsened, I became the 'golden child' and so often was told, that I would not let them down like my brother had. I idolised my older brother, so it was pretty difficult for me. In order 'not to let my parents down', I soon learned only to do whatever I knew I could succeed at - which greatly affected my time at school.

Being the 'golden child' in the family can be just as bad for both sides.

My brother had done one of his many disappearing acts, when my Dad died. He had been around when Mum died, had for a few weeks taken our bereft father under wing, then followed his normal course, borrowed a sum of money and disappeared.

Several years later, my brother very suddenly contacted me. He was old, and lonely - (he had abandoned his wife and children many years earlier). For the next few years he made himself very much a part of my life again (ringing me most days), and that of my older AC. Indeed, when he died following an operation it was my eldest daughter who had held his hand on his way to theatre.

Of his own three children, he had never ever even seen the youngest - he carried chips on his shoulders the size of mountains about that very early treatment of him by our Dad.

I have contacts with his three children, two of them now g.parents - I did try very hard not to have favourites amongst my own six - and still work hard at keeping good relationships with them all.

My father did want to be a good Dad, just had some strange ideas as to what that meant with his first born.

Peartree Tue 08-Mar-22 09:51:21

The golden child in our family of 8 kids was my baby brother. We got little presents he got the top of the range ones but we all love him so much and each other which is lovely. There was no jealousy in our house just a lot of mess and noise.

henetha Tue 08-Mar-22 09:56:05

My birth brought disaster to two decent families. In 1937 it was a big scandal to have a child out of wedlock.
Basically, my parents were teenagers who had a quick fling, and, unable to abort me, ran away to Plymouth, but when I was born they decided they didn't like each other and left me.
I was fostered until I was four, then adopted.
"Mum" was very strict, "Daddy" died when I was nine. My whole childhood was one of confusion and wondering why I was different from other children. I heard whispers, but didn't find out the truth until I was 14. My teenage years were very difficult and I was deeply miserable.
We were always very poor, especially after "Daddy" died. I always wore second hand clothes. I was an unattractive child with lank hair and always very thin. I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone really.
But I'm ok now. smile

seacliff Tue 08-Mar-22 10:09:29

Henetha,. What a tough time you had. Makes me grateful for my normal, not all roses, childhood.

Glad you're happy, or at least ok

seacliff Tue 08-Mar-22 10:12:59

Meant to include BigLouis too.

DanniRae Tue 08-Mar-22 10:15:12

Oh henetha what a sad story sad I am so glad that you are ok now smile

henetha Tue 08-Mar-22 10:15:22

Thanks seacliff. I'm fine now; came to terms with it long ago really. Apparently the depression to which I am prone now and then stems from it, but I honestly feel that there are many people who had worst childhoods than mine.

henetha Tue 08-Mar-22 10:16:39

Lovely people, all of you. Thank you so much. One of the nicer things in my life is GN.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 08-Mar-22 10:17:55

How very sad. I was an only child though I was aware that Dad would have preferred me to have been a boy.

GagaJo Tue 08-Mar-22 10:46:29

My brother was the favourite. In retrospect, I can kind of see why. He was a quiet, sweet little boy, never really any trouble, while I was a handful.

I don't really recall having a huge issue about him being the favourite. Certainly we were very poor and had quite a bad childhood (not going into details here) but so were many of the families I knew. It was how life was for working class people. He suffered a lot during and after our parents divorce, and while I did too, it really hurt me to see that sweet little boy being damaged.

He continued to be my mother's favourite into her elderly years. To be fair, he made much more effort with her than I did and his family took on the role that would usually fall to the daughter and her family. He stayed in the area she lived in, while I left at 17 and never moved back there.

I'm pretty sure all parents have a favourite. Being the eldest and not the favourite helped to make me the very independent woman I am today. I learned early on that the only person I could depend on was myself. That has served me well. I've never been dependent on a man as many women I've known are.

LadyGracie Tue 08-Mar-22 11:39:53

I was the golden child, the fifth child of six.
I lived at home the longest, supported my mother when times were difficult.
My father said after she died that I was not only her daughter but her best friend.

Pantglas2 Tue 08-Mar-22 11:41:25

Interesting to read these stories of perceived golden children from one sibling - I wonder if t’other sibling would agree and whether it really was ‘all roses....!

maddyone Tue 08-Mar-22 11:52:55

My sister is the golden child. I don’t know if she was during our childhood but she certainly is now.

Hithere Tue 08-Mar-22 11:56:10

I blocked 90% of my childhood memories

It was obviously not a good one.
My sister and I would share the golden child role depending on the qualities- pretty, thing and social butterfly, my sister
Bookish, good grades and not getting in trouble - me

But she was the girl they wanted (unplanned though) while I was the boy that was a girl (planned) - so many contradictions!

Sadly, my sister and I were never friends as my parents compared us so much we were our worst enemy, we could not achieve what the other one had

Family wasn't much better either.
I was told not to study so much as I would find a man to marry, he would be intimidated
I was also told I had to have an education as I wasn't pretty and I wouldnt have a man to support me.

"For my own sake", I was also mentally abused, medically, my father would threaten divorce if I didn't behave.....

So much better off without them - some people are not fit to be parents.

Blossoming Tue 08-Mar-22 12:35:18

I was the youngest child of a large family and was the golden child in many ways. The entire family referred to me as ‘our baby’ which gets a bit irksome when you’re in your teens. We were not well off so I wasn’t spoiled by material things but I felt safe and much loved and what more could a child want?

I’m sorry for those who weren’t so fortunate.

Hithere Tue 08-Mar-22 12:38:14

Pretty, thin (not thing)

Kate1949 Tue 08-Mar-22 12:50:46

Like Urmston's mum, I was determined that my own daughter would never suffer as I did as a child.
I was never ambitious for her. I just wanted her to have decent clothes, be cared for, have holidays and school trips when funds allowed. None of which I had.

Tizliz Tue 08-Mar-22 12:52:53

I was very surprised when a few years ago my sister said “you were always daddy’s favourite”. I never noticed ! However I did know I wasn’t my mother’s favourite.